post CrossFit Swim Workouts: Swimming WODs for the Pool

CrossFit Swim Workouts: Swimming WODs for the Pool

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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As a personal fitness coach, I'm always encouraging my clients to try out new types of workouts that will challenge their bodies and expose them to different types of exercises.

And jumping in a pool for a swim is a great option. I regularly go swimming as part of my weekly routine, but it wasn't until a CrossFit coach told me about some pool workouts he did as part of special classes.

So, I spent a day with him to figure out how to best do CrossFit swimming workouts and provide you with instructions to bring to your pool.

Quick Summary

  • The CrossFit swim workouts include Circuit Swimming Training, Improved Breathing Technique Training, Swimming Training, and Increased Intensity Training.
  • CrossFit swimming workouts always vary in difficulty, and are often recommended for enhancing fitness through a mix of pull and kick styles in pool sessions.
  • According to the National Institute of Health, increasing the intensity to HIIT levels during pool workouts can significantly enhance your cardiovascular fitness.
  • In my view, CrossFit swimming workouts are an innovative way to diversify fitness routines, offering both the cardiovascular benefits of swimming and the strength-building aspects of CrossFit.

Try Out The Following CrossFit Swimming Workouts

Man coming out of a swimming pool

As a trainer, I recommend these CrossFit swimming workouts for your pool sessions. I've organized them into various categories and difficulty levels for easy selection.

It's important to note that these workouts incorporate both pull and kick styles. 'Pull' refers to using only your arms, while 'Kick' means engaging only your legs.

Circuit Swimming Training

These workouts will resemble circuit training, and the benefits, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), can have a profound impact on your fitness [1].


Record the time to track your progress:

  • 50 x air squat pool side + 500 meters pull
  • 50 x push-up + 500 meters kick
  • 25 burpees + 500 meters swim

Articles to help guide you:


Complete eight rounds for time: 

  • 20 x muscle-up
  • 100 meters pull
  • 30 x push-up
  • 100 meters kick


Complete as many rounds as possible: 

  • 1-minute vertical kick with optional weight overhead
  • 1-minute water treading with arms only


Complete eight rounds for time: 

  • 15 jump squats
  • 25-meter dive
  • 30 seconds of vertical kicking
  • 25-meter kick for speed

Improved Breathing Technique Training

Man doing crossfit swimming

We'll now shift the workout approach to improving and challenging your breathing.


Complete this workout in as little time as possible: 

  • 1 length swim
  • 1 length underwater (in stages or with fins)
  • 1 length swim
  • 1 length underwater
  • 4 lengths swim
  • 1 length underwater
  • 3 lengths swim
  • 1 length underwater
  • 2 lengths swim
  • 1 length underwater
  • 1 length swim
  • 1 length underwater


Repeat a total of 12 rounds with 30 seconds rest between each one:

  • 25-meter swimming for speed
  • 25-meter underwater swim


Get some fins on for some extra fun and speed in the pool: 

  • 100 meters kick
  • 50 meters swim while holding your breath
  • 100 meters pull
  • 50 meters swim while holding your breath

Related Article: Aerobic Training

Swimming Training

Person doing crossfit swimming


For this workout, you will complete ten 100-meter rounds with a different section in a sprint: 

  • 1st 25-meter sprint
  • 2nd 25-meter sprint
  • 3rd 25-meter sprint
  • 4th 25-meter sprint
  • 1st and 3rd 25-meter sprint
  • 2nd and 4th 25-meter sprint
  • 1st and 2nd 25-meter sprint
  • 2nd and 3rd 25-meter sprint
  • 3rd and 4th 25-meter sprint
  • 100-meter sprint


For this workout, you'll prepare for race pace by completing ten rounds of 150 meters at a consistent swimming pace you will use for competitive events: 

  • 3 x 50 meters swimming
  • 1-minute rest

Related Article: Beginner Swimming Workouts

Increased Intensity Training

Woman doing crossfit swimming

According to NIH, when you dial up the intensity and get into HIIT territory in the pool, you can make your swim workouts boost your cardio fitness levels [2].


Complete as many as you can in 20 minutes: 

  • 100 meters kick
  • 100 meters pull
  • 100 meters swim


Complete these rounds as fast as possible: 

  • 200 meters kick
  • 200 meters pull
  • 150 meters kick
  • 150 meters pull
  • 100 meters kick
  • 100 meters pull
  • 50 meters kick
  • 50 meters pull

"HIIT may provide the same health benefits as regular exercise in less time by helping increase calorie burn and reduce body fat, heart rate, and blood pressure."

- Danielle Hildreth, RN, CPT

Benefits of CrossFit Swim Workouts

CrossFit swim workouts offer a unique blend of benefits that combine the intensity of CrossFit with the fluidity of swimming. Here are five key benefits:

  1. Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness: Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, and when combined with CrossFit, it significantly boosts heart and lung health. This combination enhances overall endurance and stamina, beneficial for both aquatic and land-based athletic performance.
  2. Low-Impact, High-Intensity Training: Swimming provides a low-impact environment, reducing stress on joints and muscles. This makes CrossFit swim workouts ideal for high-intensity training without the risk of impact-related injuries, allowing athletes to train harder and more frequently.
  3. Improved Muscular Strength and Endurance: CrossFit swim workouts often involve resistance against water, which is a natural and constant force. This resistance training strengthens muscles, improves muscle endurance, and enhances overall body tone.
  4. Increased Flexibility and Mobility: Swimming requires a wide range of motion, promoting flexibility and mobility. When combined with the functional movements of CrossFit, it leads to improved overall body flexibility, reducing the risk of injuries and enhancing athletic performance.
  5. Mental Toughness and Stress Relief: The combination of swimming's rhythmic nature and CrossFit's intensity challenges both the mind and body. This not only builds mental toughness but also serves as an effective stress reliever, as the focus required during these workouts can help clear the mind and reduce anxiety.


Is There Swimming in the CrossFit Games?

Yes, there is swimming at some CrossFit games events. The swim workouts happen in different disciplines, and the distance in the sessions will vary from short-timed ones to longer distances for endurance.

How Do You Cross Train for Swimming?

To cross-train for swimming, incorporate activities like cycling, running, and weightlifting to build endurance and strength, and practice yoga or Pilates for flexibility and core stability, enhancing overall swimming performance.

What Is the Run-Swim-Run Event at CrossFit Games?

The run-swim-run event at CrossFit games involves running 1.5 miles, swimming 500 meters, and running another 1.5 miles. It's one of the endurance workouts that will seriously test competitors' fitness levels.

How Many Days Should a Swimmer Train?

A swimmer should typically train 3-6 days per week, balancing intensity and rest, with variations based on skill level, goals, and competition schedule.


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